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Live Inspired Podcast: S9 | Ep. 90 Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell

Jim Lovell of Apollo 13

Captain Jim Lovell was the Spacecraft Commander of Apollo 13. The mission was meant to be the third moon landing attempt, but  infamously was cut short when a tank exploded.

Don’t miss hearing this epic piece of history from the man who lived it. Jim Lovell also shares how he attained his dream of becoming an astronaut in spite of growing up poor and fatherless during the Great Depression.

Jim’s unfiltered look at what it was like aboard Apollo 13, what it took to get there and what it took to get back to earth safely will unearth keys to live inspired as a leader, team player and dreamer. Don’t miss this episode.

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  • Read Jim Lovell’s book Apollo 13.
  • Check out the Apollo 13 movie by Ron Howard.
  • See the famous“Earthrise” photo (taken by Lunar Module Pilot Anders on Apollo 8) we reference here.
  • If you like this podcast, you will love Live Inspired IN STUDIO. It’s my membership community where like-minded friends join me via live webcast to live inspired together. Registration opens soon! Join the waitlist.

Captain Jim Lovell Shares How to Keep Mentally Strong when Facing a Challenge

“We had no solutions, all we knew was we’d lose oxygen soon. Any situation like this, you have to keep your cool and keep a positive attitude. If I had curled up and waited for the emergency to happen, I’d still be there waiting. The three of us talked through what was good and what was bad; the ground team analyzed with us. We talked through what tools we had and how we could make them work for us. We decided one by one what was necessary and what we had to do to overcome.”

  • When the odds are that long, how do you respond? “We thought about what we had to overcome, specifically:
  1. We had to figure out how to get back on course to get home.
  2. We had to decide what we had to turn off to save critical energy.
  3. We had to realize that each time we, we were slowly poisoning ourselves with carbon dioxide.
  4. We had to learn how to connect our current system to the old one because they weren’t built to connect.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The best book is the one I wrote! If you were moved hearing about Jim’s journey, check out his book.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? I wish I was a bit more aggressive. I could have done more work if I had a more aggressive approach to life. There are always things you think about, “Oh, I wish I had done that. After Apollo 8, there are things I know now, that I wish I had shared with the joint congress back then.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? The term paper I wrote my first class year at the Naval Academy because that gave me the incentive to continue.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Charles Lindbergh was my hero when I was a boy. We could both think about what we accomplished.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? My Captain who told me to go to the Naval Academy. During my second year at the Naval Academy, the Korean War started. If I’d stayed in my previous program, I’d have gone to Korea and the program was cancelled.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Be adventuresome. I was thinking about myself. I was pretty much on my own.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? That I added a little knowledge to our space activities.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Subscribe, rate & review wherever you get your podcasts. See you here next Thursday!

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If you like this podcast, you will love Live Inspired IN STUDIO. It’s my membership community where like-minded friends join me via live webcast to live inspired together. Registration opens soon! Join the waitlist.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.